Dorchester County officials push to roll back environmental regulations to spur job growth


SUMMERVILLE, SC - State Sen.Sean Bennett is trying to pass a bill that would remove Dorchester County from the Coastal Management Program (CMP).

The CMP is a longtime federal and state program that aims to protect wetlands near coastlines.

Bennett says the CMP is preventing large and small businesses from setting up shop in Dorchester County.

"There have been a number of of instances where they have stopped significant job growth or job growth opportunities," Bennett said. "This bill effects economic development."

"It sets a really dangerous precedent that we are worried about," Myles Maland said.

Maland works for the Coastal Conservation League.

If Bennett's bill passes, Maland fears surrounding counties will want to opt out of wetland regulations, too.

"You could see other counties like Horry County or Beaufort County or Jasper County that are now trying to get out of the same regulations that have been upheld for the last 35 years in the state of South Carolina," Maland added.

The Coastal Conservation League says if the Dorchester County Senator's legislation passes, the Ashley River right here runs the risk of becoming polluted.

"If you eliminate protection of those headwaters, essentially what you are doing is eliminating the Ashley River down stream," Myles said.

Bennett disagrees with the Coastal Conservation Leagues claim.

"One of the misunderstandings of this bill is that it would take all regulation having to do with wetlands, and that is just not accurate," Benett said.